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UFC 252: Miocic Vs. Cormier 3

Stipe Miocic -105 vs. Daniel Cormier -105

UFC 252, August 15, 2020

UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV

Stipe Miocic will meet Daniel Cormier to headline UFC 252 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, this Saturday, in what will be a rubber match fight. Cormier finished Miocic with punches late in round one of the first installment of the trilogy (at UFC 226, two summers ago). Miocic would avenge that loss the next year, at UFC 241, stopping Cormier with body shots in the fourth.

Most notably, Stipe will lord a 9" reach advantage over Cormier. This physical characteristic might imply somewhere around a ten 10% advantage to the big Croatian. Writers for MMASucka report of a study that examined 1,178 Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2010 and found that fighters with a 4" height (a proxy for reach) advantage coincided with win rates in the vicinity of 70%.

Further, both fighters are well-worn. Cormier is 41 and will enter the Octagon for the fifteenth time Saturday. No spring chicken either, Stipe is 37 years old and has fought 16 times under the UFC banner. History hints that the the four years Cormier gives up suggests as much as a 10% edge for Stipe. Per the following graph, DIllon Huff observed a decided drop-off in win rates for fighters past age 40, even versus opposition only a few years their junior.

Beyond standout age and reach advantages, the numbers are more similar than not, validating bookmakers setting this romp as a coin-toss (both fighters can be had for -105 at 5Dimes as of the time of this writing). Per data from @Fightnomics (below), Cormier has the advantage standing--but only modestly so. Cormier has also shown better defense standing. However, Miocic's greater activity could compensate for these deficits (Stipe averages 4.95 significant strikes landed per minute over his career, versus 4.25 SSpM for DC).

The numbers also suggest Cormier is the superior wrestler, which most fight fans know is typically the case when DC enters the ring. However, Miocic defends against the takedown well above the UFC average of about 60%, in fact, rivaling Cormier in this department.

More contextually, and also in Miocic's favor, we note that the winner of the previous fight has exhibited the edge in UFC do-overs in the past. OddsShark reports that from UFC 1 (1993) through last summer, prior victors are 71-44-3 in rematches.

Bottom line: Cormier is the slightly better striker, and better wrestler in aggregate. However, Stipe's reach, activity level and takedown defense offer potential offsets. On the other hand, DC is 41 years old, not exactly the prime of of a fighter's career (which has mattered in the past), and is at a big reach disadvantage (which has also mattered). Further, the history of rematches also leans Stipe's way. The weight of the evidence at our disposal moves us to back the bigger, younger fighter on the roll in head-to-head action.

Happy betting!!


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